The son of a Christian minister living in the Samarian Jewish town of Ariel was seriously wounded on Thursday when an explosion rocked his home as he opened a Purim gift basket that was left on the family's doorstep.
Police officials said that the 15-year-old boy suffered severe shrapnel wounds to the neck, and was rushed into emergency surgery at a nearby Israeli hospital.
The boy's parents, David and Leah Ortiz, operate an outreach ministry to Palestinian Arab Muslims in the area. The family has received death threats from Muslims in the past for their efforts to convince local Arabs to abandon Islam.
The family enjoys a close relationship with Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman, who has for years been at the forefront of strengthening ties between Bible-believing Christians and those Jews who have answered the biblical call to settle Israel's heartland.
In other violence, Palestinian forces operating out of the Gaza Strip fired at least four rockets at Jewish towns in southern Israel on Thursday. One landed just outside an Israeli kibbutz, damaging several homes on the periphery of the community. There were no injuries reported in the attacks.
Back in Samaria, Arab assailants on Thursday evening hurled firebombs at Jewish motorists not far from the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Nablus. Again, no injuries were reported.
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